By Beth V. West
Section 1514A of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act states that:
“No [public] company . . . , or any officer, employee, contractor, subcontractor, or agent of such company, may discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or in any other manner discriminate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment because of [whistleblowing or other protected activity].”
18 U. S. C. §1514A(a) (2006 ed.).
On March 4, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Lawson, et. al. v. FMR LLC, et. al. The case concerned the definition of the protected class under section 1514A and the Court framed the issue as follows: Does section 1514A shield only those employed by the public company itself, or does it shield as well employees of privately held contractors and subcontractors (for example, investment advisers, law firms, accounting firms, etc.) who perform work for the public company?
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